Cruises are becoming one of the most popular ways for people to embark on family vacations. Once rumored to be cramped and boring, cruises are now huge city-sized vessels that can endlessly entertain passengers with a lively line up of entertaining theater, dances, games, movies and more. Cruise ships offer various opportunities for dining at different restaurants, shopping and even partaking in recreational activities like playing miniature golf, engaging in a game of tennis, or swimming in huge on-deck pools.
Cruise ships cater to a wide audience. Some cruises are intended for adults and allow gambling. Others are strictly family-friendly affairs like the well regarded Disney cruise lines. Some cruises last only a few days and take short trips like those from Florida to the Caribbean Islands. Other cruises can go on for months and travel around the world from one country to another.
Although many people have taken cruises, there are many interesting bits of information that are not common knowledge. Below is a list of some interesting facts concerning cruise ships:
• Most cruise ships can hold thousands of passengers, well over 6,000. It is hard to judge which cruise ship is the largest because every year the models get bigger and better.
• Most cruise ships are twice the size of the Titanic.
• There are currently over 300 cruise ships in the world.
• The first ship that was built exclusively for the purpose of cruising was completed in the year 1900.
• Cruising is, as of 2014, one of the fasting-growing areas of tourism and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
• Some cruise ships offer very special features, like “swimming with dolphin” programs and on-board parks (with trees) or even ice skating rings!
• Every ship goes through an extensive planning and research process. Once it reaches the detailed design stage, it is handed over to different companies and agencies for analysis, standards and requirement assessment and eventually, approval. Once engineers move the ship into the building phase, a cabin company is called in. These companies provide pre-manufactured ship cabins in all different shapes, sizes and levels of luxury imaginable; a productive cabin manufacturer can turn out about 12,000 cabins a year. Lifecycle service companies will then be in charge of modifying, retrofitting and updating parts of the ship to maximize its life at sea, its ability to handle sailing in any water or weather, and so that it will pass inspections and certification to be allowed to carry passengers.
• Once in service, ships are regulated by a number of laws and agencies including the country of registry, the company, international law and the port at which they are docked. This web of regulators is responsible for monitoring how ships treat their sewage, how medical waste is dealt with, what fuel can be used near shore, how food waste is handled and where waste can be dumped.
• Particularly fragile environments and coastlines, like Alaska, have stricter rules that ships have to follow in order to remain environmentally friendly.
• Some cruise ships, like the huge “Queen Mary 2,” are so large and heavy that they will not be able to dock at certain points. For example, when the Queen Mary 2 comes to New York it is forced to dock in Brooklyn because the Manhattan port is too shallow to accommodate it!